If every child is unique, how can each one of them benefit from a standardised education system?
The answer lies in holistic development.
More than just an educational buzzword, this approach encourages growth through interaction with the natural world. It appeals to children’s innate curiosity by prioritising impactful engagement with people, plants, animals and the environment.
When we prioritise holistic development, we allow children to realise their own skills and aspirations in an inclusive, supportive manner.
According to Foundation Education Australia, “By focusing our attention on the connectedness of a child’s mind, body and spirit we are embracing the real and authentic developmental opportunities regardless of children’s culture, socioeconomic background, gender or age.”
Recognising the potential of this approach, boarding schools in Australia actively view learning and engagement through the lens of holistic development.
A boarding school environment can be particularly beneficial to holistic development as it roots children in a safe, familiar space conducive to their growth. This allows educators to access and nurture all aspects of students’ well-being, be it physical, emotional, or psychological.
Does this sound like the life foundation you want to provide for your child? Then check out these top boarding schools in Australia to start weighing your options.
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN COLLEGE
Concordia Lutheran College has three co-ed campuses in Toowoomba, Queensland, which accommodates students from Prep to Year 12.
Boarding at Concordia is available from Years 7 to 12 – a vital growth period for independence and self-discovery. The International Student programme is also offered for Years 7 to 12.
Holistic education here is built upon core values of learning, compassion, courage, service, excellence and respect, which empowers young people to shape their world through a life of faith.
The College extends these values through carefully-curated academic and support initiatives.
For example, international students are supported in the Learning in Residence programme, where they receive after-hours academic support with teachers, tutors and preservice teachers from the University of Southern Queensland.
Then there’s the Year 9 programme, which hones real-world skills while developing personal skills. Students will learn to collaborate, communicate and get creative in all their endeavours, which shape the foundation of the person they will become.
Additionally, Concordia champions the role of nature in holistic development through a four-week outdoor educational camp in Year 9. Students sleep in cabins, go camping and hiking, climb trees and connect with nature. They learn to survive and thrive in the great outdoors without technology. For many, it is a life-changing experience.
THE NEWINGTON COLLEGE
Founded over 150 years ago under the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Newington takes pride in educating and boarding boys across its four campuses in Sydney, New South Wales.
Boarding at Newington forges camaraderie in a group of 50 students from Years 9 to 12. Being in close proximity to campus, they get to engage fully in sports, music, and clubs, which shapes them into well-balanced individuals with a zest for life.
Learning is also tailored to individual strengths and styles. Through wide exploration and experimentation, students come to understand themselves and develop new skills that they will carry through life.
That’s why the Newington learner is reflective, self-directed, and inquisitive. From Year 9 onwards, students are challenged to rise to their potential through the nurturing of a positive mindset, as well as opportunities to take responsibility and become a leader.
In Years 9 and 10, students take on three electives on top of their core subjects. This allows them to align their learning with their passion, goals and career aspirations. In their senior years, they choose either the HSC, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program or Vocational Education Pathway.
THE GEELONG COLLEGE
With the slogan “Be of Courage,” Geelong challenges its students to speak out and reach out to develop holistically.
The boarding community at Geelong consists of 50 boys and 50 girls from Years 7 onwards.
Students are fully immersed in a well-balanced student life filled with lessons inside and outside the classroom. They socialise with peers over lunch or house activities and build strength and camaraderie through sports training.
Here, students learn to lead from a young age. Learning in Middle School is driven by curiosity, imagination, creativity and problem-solving. The fruits of these are further explored and developed in Senior School.
“Students are encouraged and supported to find their passions in learning, to gain a deeper disciplinary and inter-disciplinary understanding, and to develop the independent learning skills to prepare them for life beyond school,” said Simon Young, Head of Senior School.
Holistic education at Geelong builds upon insights into the science of learning and the art of teaching. These are the investigative objectives at the Centre for Learning, Research, and Innovation, which updates pedagogy and curriculum to fit current trends and demands.
Though New Zealand’s oldest registered school is a Methodist institution, its community is multi-ethnic, multi-faith and socially-diverse. It was established in 1844 and therefore has an extensive legacy of excellence within the country.
Wesley’s boarding facilities are home away from home for students. Here, health, welfare, and food are prioritised so young ones can focus on being their best selves in all aspects.
This goes hand-in-hand with the wealth of opportunities the school provides for students to excel in spiritual, academic, sporting, and cultural aspects. As a result, graduates go on to become individuals of faith, integrity and sensitivity who hold great purpose in their communities.
Inclusivity is another aspect of holistic development prioritised here. The vibrant Wesley community includes students of Māori and Pacific Island descent, as well as other students from less-advantaged backgrounds.
These four leading boarding schools in Australia and New Zealand are beacons for holistic development. Here’s where students blossom into well-balanced adults who are cognizant of their role in society.
As leaders and builders of tomorrow, it’s essential that they do.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International